Monday, March 16, 2009


It appears that last month's somewhat dramatic display of nature's force here in our desert paradise yielded more than just some soggy tourists and a few rather grim looking palm fronds cluttering up the front walk.

When my faithful houseboy Panton did his morning rounds of the house, checking for overturned Tikis, swamped outdoor stereo speakers, or any of those same seven indigents who seem to show up in the regional news from time to time bobbing in the pool, he discovered a delightful little bit of propaganda he felt sure I'd enjoy. Bless Panton - not a word of English bouncing around inside that copper colored head of his and yet he still manages to know exactly what I like.

This particular item, soaked almost beyond recognition, appears to be from the nearby public school. It is a form letter, of the kind one sends home with misbehaving children so their parents can feel even worse about that drunken night in Barstow that begat the little cherubs than they already do.

I myself never received one of these foul notes, having been a perfect student and the light of my mother's eye (she valued me quite highly, naturally - as the illegitimate son of Grace Kelly and George Hamilton -
- I was subsequently lost in a plane crash over the southern Asiatic region, rescued by a kindly group of Tibetan monks and then, eventually, brought back to America by some missionaries where I was adopted by a kindly white trash couple and raised as their own), but I digress...

Entitled "POOR CITIZENSHIP LETTER", it begins "Dear _______", the blank left obviously to be filled in according to each child's situation: "Dear Belabored Grandmother Who Expected Peace In Her Old Age But Instead Ended Up Tending To Her Lazy, Drunk, Good For Nothing Daughter's Brat" comes to mind, but certainly wouldn't fit in the space provided.

In this instance, the salutation is filled with "Mom and Dad" which sounds promising, but it's when we continue through the "form" portion of the missive, a litany of pre-written, shame-inducing sentences including things like "I did not Qualify for Good Citizenship because I did not follow the School Rules" and "the other students who did not break the rules got to do something fun today" that things take a decidedly darker turn.

Further along, in the student's own writing, we find a list he himself has made of his "crimes", the horrendous anti-American activities which have earmarked him as a Communist or, worse yet, a Terrorist-in-Training. These include "I did not raise my hand to speak", "I get out of my seat", "I talk to my friends" and, most damning of all, "I go to the bathroom too much."

I'll admit I'm not necessarily an expert in the field of national defense, but where exactlydoes "incontinence" rank on The Department of Homeland Security's list of "threatening activities"?

Finally, the letter concludes, ominously: "Please have a conversation with me about what I can do to earn Good Citizenship".

"A conversation"?

I suspect that particular "conversation" may have taken place on the business end of a belt, which explains why little "Hassan" - the lad whose paper this was - tossed the damning letter away and let the storm take its course.

Bravo, Hassan. Don't be fooled by these adults and their ridiculous rules!

Freedom of speech is your right, as is the Right to assemble freely. So speak when you have something to say! Visit with your friends!

And for the love of all that is good and just in this world, you urinate whenever you want!

For that, Hassan, is the American Way.


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